OK, probably a weekend of He'Brew. But what a perfect one for it with the holidays upon us. I have to apologize for the picture, flashy and all as it is. Look at last year's single find of He'Brew 9 - that is a heck of a photo of a beer bottle.
What I like about this brewer is that, aside from the kitsch and the shtick, the Shmaltz Brewing Company is simply a great and interesting beer maker - even if contract brewed at Saratoga Springs New York. Messiah Bold is labeled as "The Beer You've Been Waiting For." Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A is a rye 10% India pale ale. Genesis 10:10 is flavoured with pomegranate. That particular line of scripture, by the way, reads like this:
And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.The "he" of the "his" referred to is of course Nimrod, the mighty hunter and Noah's grandson. If you have a copy of Hornsey's work handy, you will see that this is historically and culturally appropriate as there was only a movement against beer in the last few centuries before Christ and the Maccabis. It appears Nimrods, as I have heard more than once, love their beer.
- Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.: I used to get a rye beer from the briefly active but loved New Scotland Brewing Company of Pictou, Nova Scotia. It was full bore and a bit harsh - a sort of beer evocative of the crust of the darkest Balkan-est rye loaf there was - not that that is a bad thing. So I was a bit concerned about what I have here before me, worried about that empire of rye that someone sooner or later is going to reference. But no worries, this is a lovely if huge ale: a creamy tan curtain lacy head over orange-red chestnut ale with a huge green citrus hop aroma. Wow. Massive flavour...perhaps, what, Messiahive flavour even. The rye is there but crushed beneath the twin towers of hop and malt. Plenty of orange juice and rind under an oppressive weight of beer concentrate. There is candy cane, there is some husk - but there is no burn...even at 10%. This is like Arrogant Bastard with some hope at the end of the middle, some offering in the juiciness that you are in fact worthy after all. The rye plays a wonderful role cutting almost all that malt, supplementing the role of twiggy hops. The BAers like it a lot.
- Messiah Bold: this brew is far simpler that the R.I.P.A. which is good. Every beer cannot be all beer in one glass. This beer pours a nice cream tan fine frothy over deep red chestnut ale. In the mouth it is a soft round ale with chocolate malt to the forefront. Plenty of dry cocoa with some cream from the yeast. Like sweet lambics, beer like this are to be kept from the kids as they are infinitely quaffable. If there is fruit it is apple and maybe a little date nut mostly nutty, hazelnut without the syrup that it is usually entrapped within. Cream yeast. A dark ale that is very easy to like but could you love it? Six percent of BAer's do not share my view.
- Genesis 10:10: Finally, the 10:10. Dark orangy caramel ale under a thin foam and rim of beige. Seville orange marmalade, raising and cherry with a burnt toffee seam though the middle. They added pomegranate juice to this one. Nice but a complex flavour to add, especially in the way that it works with the bitterness of the hops - they are quite harsh in a way, like the white stuff in a pomegranate that you do not eat - but it is not unbalanced. Not boozy for 10% though clearly a big beer. 98% approval from the BAers. The brewer tells of the significance of pomegranates but not a whole heck about the beer here